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Business students gets hands-on promotional experience with WIFF

Business student Dane Rife had a big problem. Tasked with promoting the Windsor International Film Festival to his fellow students, he was struggling with how to get around a rule that dictates posters can not be hung on the walls of the Odette Building.

The creative solution he proposed to his team: building their own wall.

“We went to Home Depot, got all the supplies, and put it together right there on the front lawn of Odette,” the fourth-year student said. “We had to do it fast because we didn’t know if we’d be allowed.”

Described by Rife’s academic partner Kim Forrest as “a big, rolling chalkboard,” the wooden wall – about six feet by eight feet – is stationed temporarily in the business school’s lobby, plastered with posters promoting the film festival. Volunteer students seated in front of it sell tickets and generally generate buzz for the annual event.

It’s that kind of determination and creativity that are bound to earn the students some extra academic points in the advertising management class they’re taking with professor Vincent Georgie. One of their major assignments for the course is to promote the festival, which Rife cited as part of its appeal.

“That’s why I signed up for the class,” he said. “It was a huge pull. It’s not a theoretical thing. It’s a real event, with real money coming in and outgoing cash flows.”

Rife and Forrest, who is just completing an MBA, are part of a team of more than 40 business students heading the event management, logistics, box office, special events coordination, fundraising and audience research.

“The university’s presentation of this particular event is symbolic of its vision for what student learning and collaboration can look like,” Georgie said.

Forrest, who will begin a new job in December at the Canadian Tire headquarters in Toronto, said working on the project has taught her a great deal about promotions.

“The success is really dependent on the effort that we put into it and it’ll be the same in any real job,” she said.
Forrest and Rife are part of the festival’s logistics team and will be at the festival throughout the weekend.

“We’ll be anywhere and everywhere at each of the festival’s two locations,” Forrest said, “making sure everyone is happy and that logistically, everything runs smoothly.”

“If no one sees us, we’re doing our jobs,” added Rife. 

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